One of my favorite strategies for choosing a niche is getting in before the niche really takes off.
If you're able to establish yourself as an authority in a niche before the big guys get in - you've got a real shot at becoming one of the big guys. You can develop content in a field where people have a ton of questions and quickly build a loyal following.
There's a ton of opportunity to be had. The difficult part is choosing the right niche/affiliate programs and sticking with them. If you can do that, you've got a lot of upside ahead of you.
Hopefully this post helps steer you in the right direction. We've also compiled a list of some strong up and coming affiliate programs, it's a good place to start.
My Experience in Up and Coming Affiliate Programs
I've targeted very young niches with most of the affiliate websites I've built. In a couple of those niches I've had quite a bit of success.
I've also had to overcome my fair share of obstacles. One of the niches I've been working in is hoverboards (also called self balancing scooters). My website is TopHoverboardReview, feel free to check it out. Here are a few of the issues I encountered:
- Safety hazards with new technology. All hoverboards were banned from major retailers for about 6 months this year.
- Uncertainty as to future demand for newer market.
The lack of certainty and safety issues in the hoverboard market created a headwind for me in this niche. The majority of my income comes through the Amazon Associates affiliate program. When Amazon stopped selling hoverboards it became difficult to monetize the website. There were other affiliate programs in the niche still offering commissions, but the niche as a whole had taken a major hit.
That goes to show that there's risk involved in going after young niches. However, like anything else in life, taking on more risk can lead to more reward.
When major retailers began to carry hoverboards again I was in a solid position to capitalize on the market. My hoverboard review website makes a solid profit to this day.
Benefits of Targeting a Young Niche
If you can push through the obstacles there's a ton of upside to be had in up and coming niches. There are a few big reasons why I love to compete in newer niches:
- You can be the expert. There can't be established experts in a field that hasn't fully established itself yet. You can get there first.
- There are a ton of questions in new industries. People will be searching for answers. You just have to figure out what the important questions will be and provide useful answers to them.
- SEO comes easy. You aren't competing with websites that have years of content and back links under their belt. You will be able to rank for keywords in a low competition environment - this requires very few back links. Solid keyword research alone can drive a ton of traffic to your website.
- It's fun. You have an opportunity to learn about something new and exciting. This makes blogging and content creation a ton of fun. Given the amount of time it's going to take, you'd better enjoy doing it.
How to Find Up and Coming Niches
Finding a young niche with serious potential to grow can be a challenge. Given the potential upside, it's a challenge that's definitely worth while to take on.
We spend a lot of time looking at affiliate programs. By no means do we have the definitive guide to up and coming programs, but we have a healthy list.
Here's the criteria we use to look for a new niche with strong potential:
- Less than 3 years old
- Large total addressable market
- Significant commercial/consumer uses
- Lucrative affiliate programs
This is a vague group of qualifiers for a reason. We don't want to rule out potential opportunities. The idea is to be able to identify that a niche has useful applications which can be scaled. If there's room for potential growth and some solid affiliate programs in a niche, it's worth diving into.
As an example we'll take a quick look at the decision making process that went into selecting the hoverboard niche.
The idea was sparked by all of the media coverage that hoverboards (self balancing scooters) we're getting last holiday season. The market for this technology seemed to have appeared over night.
This led to keyword research. The term "hoverboard" was getting hundreds of thousands of searches each month. Long tail keywords that would be easy to rank for were also showing strong numbers.
A look at the performance in Google Trends was actually a bit concerning. It was exponential. This sort of chart doesn't usually hold up well long term.
That turned out to be the case - safety issues with the products caused monthly searches to drop off a cliff.
I chose to overlook this initial spike in traffic and subsequent drop because I was confident that there was potential for long term growth in the niche.
The future of the market lies in real hoverboards. I don't have much confidence that the self balancing scooter market will be driving sales for years to come. I do believe that real hoverboards will. I've made a bet that this technology becomes a popular mode of personal transportation in the near future. The success of my niche website going forward will depend on this.
As you can see, it's difficult to measure the potential of a niche with specific criteria. That's what makes it interesting. Had I only considered self balancing scooters when I first looked at the hoverboard niche it probably wouldn't have been a compelling niche to enter.